— Story Time

New year, new me

I didn’t realize how tight my grip on the bathroom sink was until my fingers began to turn white. Breathe Amal, just breathe, I reminded myself as I stared into the mirror.

I only met Oliver 48 hours ago and now here I was, ready to meet him at a fancy executive building in downtown LA. I tugged at the ends of my blazer as I replayed the other night over again in my head.

I could walk out of here and never see Oliver again or I could take a deep breath and channel my inner Sophia. She already told me everything I needed to know about his family…well, everything from the gossip rags. If I was caught in a lie, what was the worse that could happen?

I closed my eyes and stood up straight. “1…2…3…” I counted to myself before I pushed through the bathroom door. I walked up to the receptionist and said, “Amal Ansari. I’m here to meet with Oliver Bennett.”

Her eyes perused a list on her desk. I watched as she wiggled her fingers until she found my name. “Oh, there you are. Actually, Oliver just got called into a meeting. You’ll be seeing Kristen today.”

My lips tightened as a sharp pain hit my stomach. “Kristen?” I managed to mumble her name.

“Don’t worry she’s a sweetheart.” She had a petite frame, topped with ginger-colored curls that bounced with each step as she walked around her desk to meet me. “Right this way.” She smiled and gestured for me to follow.

I took another deep breath and trailed behind her. We walked into a small glass conference room. “You can have a seat. Kristen will be here in just a few.” She smiled again as she shut the door behind her.

What I really wanted to do was frantically pace back and forth and dramatically knock my head on the wall. Instead, I sat there and twiddled my thumbs as I watched people walk by.

“Amal?” I heard my name and spun my head around so quickly it was borderline self endangerment. “Hi, I’m Kristen!” A fairly young, tall, slender woman walked up to me. She had a nice demeanor, but you could tell she had an edge in her eyes. Her hair was pulled up high into an impossibly-perfect ponytail.

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